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Race and Ethnicity on the Shakespearean Stage

ENGL 277
Spring 2019 not offered
Certificates: Environmental Studies

In this class, we will take up the question of race in relation to the Shakespearean canon. We will look at four plays by Shakespeare and one by Christopher Marlowe, each of which features a major character that early modern audiences would have perceived as racially "other" (e.g., Moors, Jews, Indians, Turks, Egyptians), as well as some relevant Shakespearean poetry. We will set these plays against other texts and artworks that explore and make arguments about racial/ethnic difference, investigating the ways in which ideas about race intersected with ideas about geography, climate, religion, custom, and sexuality in 16th- and 17th-century Europe. Our goal, throughout, will be to come to grips with historical ideas about racial difference that will seem alternately alien and familiar from our contemporary perspective, as well as to interrogate the popular understanding of Renaissance Europe as exclusively "white." In the course's final section, we will look at the subsequent history of Shakespearean performance and race, reading and watching adaptations from the 18th to the 21st century and discussing issues ranging from colorblind casting to arguments over whether "original practices" such as blackface still have a place in the repertory.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA ENGL
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None

Last Updated on FEB-04-2023
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